The U.S. Department of Transportation's effort to teach car drivers how to share the road with trucks is paying off, according to a department analysis.
The report says the share-the-road message is being delivered to the public and driver-education classes by hundreds of law enforcement officers, educators, insurance companies and industry partners in 33 states and the District of Columbia.
Information about the "No-Zone" of blind spots around trucks and buses, is being distributed at highway rest areas, schools, shopping malls and in driver education classes around the country. A decal depicting the No-Zone is on more than 4,400 trucks and buses, and further information is available on a web site that receives 40,000 hits per month, the report said (http://www.nozone.org).
The campaign began in 1994 and has been supported by $3.5 million in Motor Carrier Assistance Program funds, said David Longo, spokesman for the Office of Motor Carrier and Highway Safety. Focus group research found that the No-Zone message is well accepted and easily understood, he said.
The report does not attempt to make any connection between the safety message and improved safety statistics. Fatalities in truck-related accidents did decline in 1998 after rising the previous two years, but it is impossible to measure any contribution No-Zone may have made, Longo said. OMCHS is conducting a telephone survey to determine the public's awareness of the message.
The report, which was prepared by an outside contractor, Abacus Technology Corp. of Chevy Chase, MD, says OMCHS needs to update its goals, increase private sector involvement and look for ways to spread the message further.
Longo said the next step will be to delegate responsibility for the program to OMCHS field staff, principally to the agency's Southern Resource Center, based in Atlanta.